David Gregory shamefully turned a Meet The Press segment on the latest allegations in the Christie scandal into a Democrat bashing, Republican talking point filled defense of the New Jersey governor.
Transcript via Meet The Press:
DAVID GREGORY: So, here’s one of the criticisms of you thus far.
JOHN WISNIEWSKI: Sure.
DAVID GREGORY: Is that there’s a rush to judgment here. You’re a democrat. You used to run the state party.
JOHN WISNIEWSKI: That’s true.
DAVID GREGORY:You’ve got the national Democratic Party piggybacking on allegations and on aspects of this investigation. You’ve issued very broad subpoenas. And you’ve said that it’s hard for you to believe that Governor Christie didn’t know that his top staff was ordering those lanes to be closed on the George Washington Bridge. Isn’t this kind of stacked against him here?
JOHN WISNIEWSKI: No. It’s not. First of all, this investigation started out because of a toll increase on the George Washington Bridge and of the port authority crossings. We were looking at the finances and operation of the port authority. Somebody closed lanes from Fort Lee during that.
We started asking questions about the lane closures, and suddenly we’re looking at emails where somebody in the governor’s inner circle sent an email to close those lanes for clearly what are not governmental purposes. This story, interestingly enough, didn’t start with Democrats. It started with the Wall Street Journal, hardly a liberal paper, that started questioning what happened with the George Washington Bridge lane closures. And we followed this step by step. There’s been no rush to judgment, I’ve said time and time again.
DAVID GREGORY:You said no rush to judgment. Respectfully, you’ve talked about the specter of impeachment before you gathered all this information.
JOHN WISNIEWSKI: What I said, David, is there’s absolutely no document that connects the governor to this. His office is connected, not him. I’ve said that talking about impeachment is premature. There’s no connection that he knew or that he directed it. What we do know is that someone senior in his staff sent an email to close the lanes.
We know that senior people in his staff were involved in trying to do damage control and come up with the cover story for it. And, so, we have lots of questions. And I have said that with all of his senior people in the midst of a reelection year, it’s hard to believe that he knew nothing until January 8th.
DAVID GREGORY: What’s the end game, then? A very broad subpoena for the office of the governor. Presumably, you want any communication that would indicate he had direct knowledge to shut down those lanes. Is that what you’re after?
JOHN WISNIEWSKI: No. What we want to know, first of all, it’s a legislative inquiry. We’re not a prosecutorial agency. We want to make sure this can’t again. The fact that four people have lost their jobs over it doesn’t stop this kind of abuse from happening again.
So, we have to change the laws. The only way we can do that is to find out how it could happen in the first place. The subpoenas help us get to the root cause of who told Bridget Kelly she could send this email? Why would she send it? It seemed to be a preordained conversation. Because reading that email, you don’t get any other conclusion that there was a communication before then.
Gregory claimed that the segment was about the latest on the new allegations in the Christie scandal, but he spent one question on the allegations, and the rest of the time fishing for partisan motives in the investigation of the Christie administration. Gregory wasn’t really interested in the allegation made by Hoboken’s mayor that Christie is holding over $100 million in Sandy relief funds hostage until the mayor agrees to approve a project that would benefit a private developer.
The Meet The Press host tried to accuse Democrats of stacking the deck against Christie, and he incorrectly mangled Wisniewski’s comments about the potential for impeachment proceedings against the governor. The segment was another tarnishing of a once great television program by Gregory. Instead of asking challenging questions about how the latest allegation might tie into the overall investigation, David Gregory tried to play gotcha.
It would be nice if David Gregory and his Beltway buddies were half as tough on Republican serial liar Darrell Issa, as they are when a Democrat is leading an inquiry about the conduct of a potential Republican presidential candidate. This was the kind of disgraceful, lazy, partisan performance that viewers have to come to expect from David Gregory.
Gregory is the primary reason why Meet The Press has slumped so badly in the ratings, and it is easy to see why NBC is considering dumping him from the television institution. All of the Sunday shows have a demonstrated bias towards Republicans, but David Gregory takes it to a new low.
David Gregory’s Republican talking point hour is giving millions of Americans a great reason to sleep in and skip Meet The Press on Sunday mornings.
Mr. Easley is the founder/managing editor and Senior White House and Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA.Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association